The rogue-like genre is a packed field these days, but it takes a lot to get the balance right of what makes them enjoyable. Many developers end up with a game that fails to give players the right opportunities to observe, learn, and improve from their mistakes, and instead of challenging, their offerings become frustrating and discouraging. However, indie developer Motion Twin seem to have hit on the right formula, marrying the rhythmic, ‘dancing with the bosses’ style of combat from the Souls games with a Metroidvania style side-scrolling format and roguelike rules to create Dead Cells. Combine that with vibrant, colorful visuals and a kickin’ soundtrack heavy on orchestral and acoustic alike, and you’ve got a fast-paced, arcadey experience that’s great for quick 20 minute sprints, but that will absolutely devour entire days of your life if you’re not careful.
In it, you play the anonymous Prisoner, adventuring your way through dungeons, ramparts, sepulchers and castles to try and escape an island where a mysterious disease called the Malaise runs rampant. Those ruling the island have imprisoned the majority of the island’s mutated inhabitants (whom you’ll have the pleasure of meeting/slaying), retreating within their stronghold to try and escape their grasp.